When Christmastime rolls around each year, folks like to watch the same handful of films to get them in the yuletide spirit. Christmas movies, it turns out, are their own category, and some movies are favorites among quite a lot of people.
On this list are “A Christmas Story,” which is a tale of a youngster growing up in Ohio who pines for a BB gun; “Elf,” the story of a human who grew up with Santa Claus; “Christmas Vacation,” starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, and Randy Quaid.
Star Wars’ Christmas Tale
There is no “official” Christmas story for the “Star Trek” franchise. This might seem odd to some, especially since the competition has its own Christmas special, although George Lucas tried to make it disappear. The “Star Wars Holiday Special” aired in 1978 on CBS and has never been officially available on VHS, DVD, or Blu-ray disc. It is available on YouTube, and Disney+ will be showing some of the better parts of the special.
It might be because Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was not a religious person. The Hollywood Reporter said that Roddenberry was a “secular humanist.” On “Star Trek,” there were not a whole lot of references to the religions of Earth, with Chakotay’s spirituality being a big exception. Trek visited many worlds and experienced other religions, including the Vulcan, Bajoran, Klingon, and others. “Star Trek: Discovery” poked a toe into Earth religion in Season 2’s “New Eden,” but just a tiny bit.
The most significant Christmas scene in Trek might be when Jean-Luc Picard experiences what he might have had in the Nexus. This was a scene in “Star Trek: Generations” and lasted for just a few minutes.
Christmas on ‘Generations’
Some argue that the most significant Christmas episode in Trek history was aired in 1994, and it was called “All Good Things….” This was the two-part series finale for “The Next Generation,” which saw Picard face Q for the final time on the show. He jumped between timelines to save humanity. It was written by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore.
Yes, this is the same episode — which so many have pointed out — inspired the Marvel mega-hit, “Avengers Endgame.” Marvel’s Kevin Feige even admitted that he was influenced by Trek and “All Good Things…” which he said was “one of the best series finales ever.”
However, reviewers on IMDB noted that “All Good Things…” must have had some inspiration from Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” Others compared Picard to Ebeneezer Scrooge, both played by Patrick Stewart. A 1999 version of “A Christmas Carol” starred Stewart and is available to stream on Hulu.
How ‘A Christmas Carol’ is like ‘All Good Things…’
In “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge is visited by three spirits, who take him to the past, present, and future. Each trip shows Scrooge something different and how his actions have affected others. Most of the time, Scrooge’s actions negatively affect others in his life thanks to his greed and selfishness. By the end of his days, he is a crotchety old man, running a firm with a single employee. He has no life, and no one loves him.
The Spirit of Christmas Future showed Scrooge a look at what he could expect (a gravestone) unless he changed his ways. After the visit with the spirits, Scrooge started right away — he gave his employee a raise and mended fences with his nephew. He turned up at an annual Christmas party his nephew always invited him to and apologized to all. He also said:
“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”
Sir Patrick as Scrooge
In “All Good Things…” Picard is ‘Scrooge,’ facing three crises in three specific times — the present, future, and past. There were not three spirits haunting Picard. He just got visited by Q (John de Lancie) instead. And the stakes for Picard were much higher than they were for Scrooge. If Picard failed, all of humanity would perish.
In the end, Picard succeeded in solving the puzzle, and Q admitted that he’d done well for “a second.” Picard, like Scrooge, joined a party to which he’d always been invited. This was Riker’s poker game.
Braga told Yahoo! that the tie-in with “A Christmas Carol” was deliberate.
“Writing the characters in each timeline was a little bit different, and it was just a really exquisite device to kind of do a Christmas Carol-type episode with a sci-fi twist,” he said in a 2014 interview.